Posted by: istop4books | March 17, 2008

Waiting for Snow

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I just finished this childhood memoir, the story of a young Cuban boy, who becomes part of the Peter Pan airlift of 14,000 kids who were sent out of Cuba to Miami to get them the hell out of Fidel Castro’s newly formed dictatorship.

The book is brilliant – right off the bat – at describing the childhood antics of a couple of well-to-do, privileged kids in Batista’s Cuba. His portrayals of growing up, playing with fireworks, bullets, blowing up lizards and having pelting wars with fruit off a tree, are nothing short of endearing. They brought back memories of the idiotic things my brother and I used to do as kids (and lived to retell).

Where I think it just fell short (and I’m sure it wasn’t his objective in writing the memoir) was in the background information of the Cuban crisis, what actually happened to his father, to the country, more details on his years as a young kid, alone with an aloof brother, here in the States. What he does write about it is poignant, sad, terrifying and depcts an overwhelmingly waste of human life and dignity.

What touched my heart was the fact that Carlos was airlifted out of Cuba at age 11. His parents wanted to ensure that he would not have to see the atrocities that they could see when peering into their crystal balls of experience. They knew what was coming and didn’t wanted their two boys subjected to it, and so they committed the supreme sacrifice of sending their kids to an unknown place to be cared for by unknown strangers. They figured they’d join the boys in a few months. The months turned into 3 years for the mother; and never for the father. His mother spent 3 years of hell waiting in lines and being turned away. When the mother finally reached the boys, they were taller than her, and had been on their own for so long that they no longer needed her. That ferklumped me. How she must have suffered, only a mother who has suffered this sort of loss would understand. And the author does not mention what sort of relationship he wound up having with her in later life.

He talks about dying that day. I can relate to that, perhaps a little too closely. When I lost my dad at age 12, I too died. A part of the soul just shrivels up and the sky is never as blue, Christmas never as magical, and a raining day takes on a different meaning. So I did get that part, fully understood him and was able to empathize with him.

He talks about waiting in line for hours after Castro had taken over, waiting for oil or eggs or meat, only to find that 4 people ahead of you, whatever you were waiting for had run out. I do remember those days. Allende, Chile, 1971. I waited for cigarrettes, toilet paper (which we eventually learned to live without), toothpaste, — things most Americans take for granted, were things to be secured or bought on the black market. Factories, slaughterhouses and farms were taken over and run into the ground. A relative’s farm was overtaken, the family put under house arrest, and their prize $100,000 reproduction bull, roasted and eaten at the ensuing party.

So yeah, I get it.

ON THE NEEDLES

I’ve just finished a couple of projects, have a couple on the needles and am waiting for the gorgeous Moroccan Days/Arabian nights shawl to arrive.

Here’s a bit of what’s been going on with my knitting:

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I LOVE this scarf. Made with Araucania Aysen, one skein, in a basket weave stitch. One of my favorite things made so far, except for:

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I took the inspiration for this sweater from one of the Simply Shetland books, actually two of the books. The dimensions come from the Olana Sweater, but the middle bit comes from a men’s sweater in another book. LOVE it! It fits well, the color is gorgeous and I wore it like crazy in San Francisco. Made with Araucania Nature Wool.

Latest Socks:

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These were knit in Schaeffer Anne sock yarn (I probably butchered that name) and Twin Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. The pattern works well with my big, fat feet and bit fat calves. I have them on as I write. Scrumptious!

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Responses

  1. I love the basketweave on the sweater. The sweater is very nice as well. You did a great job on it. I’m looking at the pic of the socks. Are those purple and yellow? Those are LSU colors – we see a lot of stuff knitted in those colors around Baton Rouge.

  2. Thanks for your kind comment! I absolutely love the sweater. I’ve used it a lot and it seems to be wearing very nicely. Here in Minnesota it winds up being an 7-month garment, unfortunately 😦 – but hopefully we’re done with the intense cold weather and I’ll be able to put the sweater away until October! The socks are actually deep blue and orange and they are just about my favorites.
    I have to update my blog because I have several others made and on the needles. Do you belong to Ravelry? Great website for knitters.

  3. Can you share the pattern for the basketweave scarf? I’ve been looking for that pattern and can’t seem to find it. Lovely yarn choice BTW.

  4. Hi, This pattern is so much easier to do once you’ve looked at it; there’s really nothing to it once you understand the concept and it knits up quickly.

    Cast on an uneven number of stitches (I think I used 27). This is assuming you DON’T knit continental:

    I knit the first row. Then:

    Row1: knit 2, On next two stitches: take right needle and knit through the back loop of the second stitch without removing; bring the needle to the front and knit through the front of the first stitch and remove both stitches. Repeat until 1 stitch is left and knit that stitch.

    Row 2: Purl 2, then with right needle in front of work purl second stitch but don’t remove it from the needle, purl 1st stitch and remove both. Repeat to the end of row, Purl 1.

    It’s tricky at first, but it is so, so pretty in the end that it was well worth it. One word of caution – if you don’t knit 2 or purl 2 in the beginning, it will throw the pattern off.

    Best of luck with it, and don’t hesitate to contact me again if it’s not working for you.


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